Thomas Leigh (Lord Mayor)

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Sir Thomas Leigh
Lord Mayor of London
In office
1558–1559
Preceded by Sir Thomas Curtis
Succeeded by Sir William Hewett
Personal details
Born c. 1504
Wellington, Shropshire, England
Died November 17, 1571
London, England
Resting place Mercers' Chapel, London
Nationality English
Spouse(s) Alice née Barker
Children Rowland Leigh, of Adlestrop;
Sir Thomas Leigh, Bt;
Sir William Leigh; 4 daus
Residence Stoneleigh Abbey
Occupation Merchant
Religion Anglican

Sir Thomas Leigh (c. 1504 – November 17, 1571[1]) was an English merchant and Lord Mayor of London in 1558-59. He served as a City Alderman from 1552 until 1571.

Life[edit]

Leigh was born about 1504 at Wellington, Shropshire to Roger Leigh (died 1506) and Anne née Trafford. He was the great-great grandson of Sir Piers Leigh, who was wounded at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, whose family was a cadet branch of the ancient Leighs, of West Hall, High Legh, Cheshire.

Leigh was raised by Sir Rowland Hill, a City mercer and wool merchant, and later joined Sir Rowland's business, and circa 1535, he married his niece and heir, Alice Barker,[1] daughter of John Barker and Elizabeth née Hill. The following year he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Shropshire. Leigh, who served three times as Master of the Mercers' Company, also served as Sheriff of London (1555–56)[2][3] and in 1558 became Lord Mayor of London.[4] He was also a merchant of the Staple and a member of the Merchant Adventurers' Company.

In 1558, after the death of Mary I of England, Leigh led the coronation procession of Elizabeth I of England.[5] In 1559, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.[6]

In 1561, Sir Rowland Hill purchased Stoneleigh Abbey after the Dissolution of the Monasteries for his ward Sir Thomas Leigh, and a mansion was built on the site of the former monastic buildings. Leigh's family and descendants were seated on the estate from 1561 to 1993.

Sir Thomas Leigh's descendants include Jane Austen through her mother Cassandra Leigh, the Leigh baronets and the Barons Leigh of Stoneleigh, the Earls of Chichester and the Duchess of Dudley.

He has been wrongly attributed to be the ancestor that links Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as cousins. Their actual common ancestor is Sir Thomas Leighton, the Governor of Guernsey; he was an Elizabethan soldier and diplomat.

Arms of the Barons Leigh

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Burke, Sir John Bernard; Burke, John (1844), A genealogical and heraldic history of the extinct and dormant baronetcies of England, Ireland and Scotland, J. R. Smith, p. 307 
  2. ^ Burke, John (1831), A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland, extinct, dormant, and in abeyance. England, Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley, p. 310 
  3. ^ Stow, John; Thomas, William John; Morley, Henry (1876), A survey of London written in the year 1598, Chatto & Windus, p. 195 
  4. ^  Welch, Charles (1892). "Leigh, Thomas (1504?-1571)". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 32. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  5. ^ Spencer, Richard Henry (1914), Thomas Family of Talbot County, Maryland, and Allied Families, Williams & Wilkins Co., p. 65 
  6. ^ Hutton, William Holden; New, Edmund Hort (1914), Highways and Byways in Shakespeare's Country, Macmillan, p. 387 
Civic offices
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Curtis
Coat of Arms of The City of London.svg
Lord Mayor of London
1558–1559
Succeeded by
Sir William Hewett